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The Flor-Ala

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French Film Festival delivers francophonic art and discussions

French+Film+Festival+delivers+francophonic+art+and+discussions
Whitney Veazey

The UNA French Film Festival is providing the campus with Francophonic culture, great discussions and amazing food in its seventh edition.

The festival started Mar. 4 and the last screenings, located at Wesleyan Hall’s second floor, will take place on Mar. 18 and 20.

The festival was made possible by the French American Cultural Exchange Foundation. The organization provides the Albertine Cinematique grant, which pays for the screening rights of French language films for universities across the United States to make their own film festivals.

Dr. Stephanie Coker, UNA assistant professor of modern foreign languages and festival programmer, received a variety of francophonic films from the FACE Foundation during the summer of 2023 to choose from. 

She mentioned that her selection for the lineup is meant to thoughtfully regard high school students who might be interested in the festival, saying, “I look for [the films] to be appropriate for all ages.” Another criterion mentioned by Dr. Coker is the variety of genre and nationality, since not all of the movies are based in France.

One primary aspect of the festival is to follow each film with an analysis and discussion after each screening. The audience is challenged with deep questions regarding many aspects of the film and the discussion flows through the many member’s perspectives.

Screened on the first day and reception of the festival was “L’Innocent,” written, directed and starred in by the French filmmaker, Louis Garrel. The film provided laughter, sadness and anxiety with its mix of genres. The audience concluded the screening by discussing the meaning of the title “The Innocent” through its complex characters.

Dr. Coker mentioned being “moved” by a student who told her they had never seen an international film before, which made her certain of how important the UNA French Film Festival is to the campus community. She stated, “What a great opportunity to expand students’ minds!”

Another significant part of the festival is student participation; students help as volunteers by delivering posters and setting up food and decorations.

UNA French club member and festival volunteer Andrea Mastin, a senior, said, “Coming here and setting it up is extremely fun! We get to connect with other members of the community who enjoy watching and discussing those films.”

Participants of the event accredit Coker, Mastin and the other contributors for the outstanding gastronomy table. Jerrica Foster, a junior student majoring in Geography, says, “The food is exquisite, very elegant. I am very surprised by the way it was prepared; it is delicious. I was expecting crackers and pizza.”

The food table featured many snacks from French cuisine like chocolate mousse, croissants, macaroons, cookies, quiches, coffee, strawberry-flavored water and more. By the end of the first day of screening, the table was almost empty.

Standing in its original height and size was a cardboard version of French President Emmanuel Macron, which amused many participants.

Two screenings are still set to happen before this year’s festival comes to an end. On Mar. 18, “Chocolate (1988),” by the director Claire Denis, which follows a French woman returning to her childhood place in Cameroon with actress Mireille Perrier. 

On Mar. 20, “Last Year at Marienbad (1961),” by Alain Resnais, a thriller set in a luxury hotel with Delphine Seyrig and Giorgio Albertazzi.

The French Festival is a great opportunity for students and the local community to have access to an art form that might not be so recurrent in their daily lives and allow themselves to be inspired by it. Dr. Coker adds, “We want to expand what people think of the Francophonic world.”

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About the Contributors
Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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